Nurturing Family Safaris across Africa
Safari Resources

When to safari in Africa

The best time for a family safari in Africa depends on you and what you want to get out of the experience. The destination you plan to visit, what you want to do, and the duration of your stay will all play a part in your decision. Got somewhere in mind? Set time aside for your family safari but undecided where to go? Wherever you are right now in your planning, we'll meet you there and help every step of the way to ensure your African safari is a positively life-changing experience for the whole family.

The purpose of this African safari resource is merely to give you an overview of our favourite destinations in Southern and East Africa. We provide only the most rudimentary information about the typical weather conditions for each country in the wet and dry seasons, and highlight just a few of the many possible travel experiences available. But please don't feel limited by what you see on this page or anywhere else on our website, these suggestions are intended only to inspire your imagination. Your family safari can include any combination of countries and activities you see here, depending on your time frame and budget.r>

As specialists with nearly two decades of experience, we will help plan an excellent family safari at any time of year. Get in touch to speak with one of our experienced travel planners who can help weigh up your options to find just the right African safari for your family. They are experts at helping guests create purpose-built custom safaris, so whatever you have in mind, we will help you get your dream African adventure with your family.

When is the best time to see wildlife in Africa?

By far the most important consideration in deciding when to visit Africa is the difference between the dry and wet seasons. Fortunately, most countries are year-round destinations that offer unique travel experiences from one season to the next, and the same goes for game viewing. The most popular time to go on safari in Southern and East Africa is during the dry season from around May to October when more animals gather around permanent water sources and spotting them is easier. However, the wet season might be better suited to your wildlife interests, favourite weather and travel budget.


Visitors to Southern Africa looking for adventure are spoilt for choice. From the towering dunes and desert starlit skies of Namibia to spotting the Big Five in Kruger National Park, there is no shortage of thrills in Africa's most temperate region. In many parts of Southern Africa, the long rains begin around December and continue until the end of April. The winter dry season between May and October is the busiest time for game viewing, but many favour the wetter months when the landscape is lush and green. Moody skies and cloud-stacked sunsets are a regular summer feature in these parts, and this is also when migrant birds take up residence on lakes and lagoons for nest-building and to raise their young.


One of Africa's premier safari destinations, Botswana boasts incredible wildlife density and diversity. Typical of Southern Africa, safari season peaks in the dry winter months from May through October when more animals are concentrated along the Chobe, Kwando, Linyanti and Boteti waterways. To encounter sheer numbers of big game like elephant, the dry season is the time to visit Botswana when, for better or worse, the parks are at their busiest.

The summer rains bring in the quieter wet season from November to March, turning the dry and dusty landscape green. With the birthing season, the plains fill with fawns, foals, calves and cubs. Visitors to Botswana's parks in these wetter months see many young antelope especially, like springbok, impala, kudu and waterbuck. With many juveniles around, predators stay in close quarters and scavengers such as jackal, hyena and vultures are never far behind them. The bird-viewing opportunities that come with the summer rains in Botswana are also phenomenal. Hawks and eagles fill the skies, and the shimmering wetlands play host to all manner of water birds and colourful migratory species. The wet season also sees a migration of zebra from the Okavango Delta into the Savuti and Makgadikgadi Pans, in what is recognised as the world's second-largest zebra migration.


A land of stark and beautiful contrasts, Namibia is an excellent Southern African safari destination that also offers 4x4ing, deep-sea fishing and encounters with indigenous tribes like the Himba people. The dry months from May to November are peak game-viewing season when animals are gathered around permanent lakes and waterholes. The landscape can look very harsh at this time, especially towards the end of winter as the grasses and foliage have withered or been eaten. In these desert-like conditions, winter temperatures can dip dramatically from dusk until dawn. Many also choose this time to visit the towering dunes of Sossuvlei as the skies are clear and conditions for photography are postcard-perfect. That said, the coastal deserts are good to visit year-round.

Bird lovers who brave the mid-summer heat and occasional downpour between December and March are rewarded with sightings of bustards, kestrel and waxbills, as well as shorebirds like sandpipers. Namibia's wet season makes the arid landscape spring to life with brightly-coloured flowers and many newborn animals. All areas of Namibia's parks are easily accessible in summer because there is less rain and mud than in some other regions. Despite smaller concentrations of game, water is still available at some waterholes in Etosha National Park and therefore spotting game is unusually easy for the wet season as the animals are less dispersed.

South Africa

Celebrated for its Big Five safaris in Kruger National Park, South Africa offers visitors a broader range of travel experiences than any other country in Africa. From the hip, cosmopolitan hub of Cape Town to the Winelands and verdant Garden Route, the southernmost corner of South Africa alone offers more quality travel experiences than you can imagine. South Africa's climate varies greatly between regions, since the various areas are at their best at different times of year. Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate with warm and dry summers from November to April. It experiences crisp but not cold winters with some rain from May to October. The right time to visit the Mother City depends on what you want to do. Make the most of the warm weather during peak summer from December to February when there is beach weather on most days. Come in April for cooler but mostly clear days if you plan to hike, but you also can't afford to miss winter if you plan to enjoy the city's finest eateries, wine tasting and indoor markets. For a whale-watching family vacation, visit from July through September to spot these giant mammals breaching along the southern coastline.

Kruger National Park and much of the Highveld in the northeast of the country gets heavy mid-summer thundershowers and a dry season from May to October. Wildlife density in South Africa's game parks is at its highest in these dry months when animals gather around permanent water sources and are easier to spot in the sparse bush. But South Africa's private game reserves offer equally impressive game viewing in the green season.


The main attractions for visitors to Zimbabwe are its wildlife-rich game parks and the glorious Victoria Falls. The dry season from May to October is the customary time to come and see wildlife. In national parks like Hwange and Mana Pools, the warm weather draws animals like rhino and elephant to rivers and waterholes, creating excellent game-viewing opportunities.

For the most dramatic views of Victoria Falls, many choose to visit Zimbabwe after the last of the rains in March or April when the Zambezi River is full, though any time before the falls start drying up in October is worthwhile. The best white-water rafting conditions are from August to December when the water level is low and the rapids are more exposed.


With 20 national parks, Zambia is second only to Kenya in number of protected areas in Africa. The dry season from May to October rewards guests with large concentrations of game and mild daytime temperatures. With the start of the summer rains, about 35 000 wildebeest arrive to graze in Zambia's Liuwa Plain National Park, which is one of a few Southern African animal migrations.

In the wet season, the bush thickens with colour and spotting wildlife becomes more challenging. Victoria Falls looks her best after the summer rains when the Zambezi River is full. This is also when the Luangwa River has burst its banks to create vast flood plains where storks, pelicans, herons and cranes congregate in the South Luangwa National Park. Visitor numbers reduce in the wet season with some parks closed in these rainy months. However, this is a great option for wildlife enthusiasts who want to take advantage of greener landscapes, prolific birdlife, young animals and lower rates at the most sought-after camps and lodges.


With its rugged coastline and swaying palms, this enigmatic country beckons adventure. Visitors come for its unmanicured beaches for isolated relaxation, remote archipelagos with pounding surf and well-preserved coral reefs teeming with colourful fish. The May to October dry winter season is when to go for cooler temperatures and the least chance of rain. Game viewing in wildlife sanctuaries like Gorongosa National Park is also popular at this time as the weather is mild and animals congregate around waterholes and permanent lakes.

However, many families come to Mozambique to dive at the start of the wet summer season in November when it often rains in short but heavy downpours but can clear up quickly. This is also the best time for spotting sharks and migrants like Southern Right and Humpback whales. The best marlin fishing is from September until January, while the main sailfish season runs from June to September.


Although recognised primarily as a safari destination, East Africa has some extraordinary cities, islands and cultural sites to explore. Traditionally, the dry season between July and October is when people visit national parks like the Serengeti and Masai Mara, but by no means is this always the best time for an East African safari. The wet season is marked by two periods of rain; a short patch of rain in November and longer rains in April and May. Visitors to East Africa’s national parks will see green vegetation, more baby animals around, and less safari traffic. From June to October there are usually uninterrupted beach days on the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, but even the monsoon season can appeal to some guests


With game-rich parks and sun-soaked islands for barefoot luxury, Tanzania is one of Africa's choice bush and beach destinations. National parks like the Serengeti and Lake Manyara offer superb year-round game viewing with visitor numbers peaking in the dry season between June and October. In the warm weather, animals congregate around permanent water sources and sightings on game drives are more predictable, but not always better.

The main rainy season in Tanzania is from March to May. Afternoon tropical downpours are common with heavier rainfall along the coast and on islands like Pemba and Zanzibar. During November and December is a short period of rain, which is lighter and less consistent. These green seasons see the dry landscape transform to become saturated with colour. The Ngorongoro Crater floor and the Serengeti's expansive plains come to life with grass and flowers. Mount Kilimanjaro, as well as the flocks of flamingos that gather on Lake Magadi, Lake Ndutu & Lake Masek at this time, are spectacular to behold. The wet season is an excellent time for bird watching and to see young animals of all kinds finding their feet in the bush. The introduction of these juveniles into the wild invites predators like lion, leopard and cheetah who see them as easy prey.

From May through September, many visit Tanzania to witness the Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra across the wide-open plains. Some of the most captivating and heart-wrenching wildlife scenes occur when great herds of these animals attempt to cross the crocodile-infested Grumeti and Mara Rivers on their way to the Serengeti.


Kenya is widely regarded as one of Africa's leading wildlife destinations with some of the most awarded hotels and lodges. The conventional safari season spans the dry months from July to October when the weather is generally mild. At this time of year, game viewing is predictably rewarding as animals gather in large numbers around permanent lakes and waterholes.

The expansive plains of Masai Mara National Park also offer fantastic game viewing in the wet season from November to June when the vegetation is much greener but remains relatively sparse. The afternoon skies often take on a dramatic appearance and brewing clouds make for some of the most beautiful sunsets in Africa. There is still plenty of wildlife action to see in the green season, from newborn animals taking their first steps to moving life-and-death scenes of predator and prey interactions. Visitors to Kenya for the Great Migration often arrive between August and November after many wildebeest herds have returned from the Serengeti.


If Rwanda is on your bucket list, then chances are you want to see gorillas or chimpanzees. It is good to visit at any time of year as there is very little seasonality, but the drier months from June to September and January to February, are easier for hiking in the rainforests. Chimpanzee trekkers though prefer to time their visit around the rainy seasons of March through May and October to December. When the weather is dry, the chimps are deeper in the forest interior foraging for food which makes them harder to find.


A beautiful country with a fascinating history, in Ethiopia there is everything from white desert and highlands to canyons and sweeping savannahs. The Danakil Depression in north-east Ethiopia is one of the hottest, driest and lowest places on the planet. Although Ethiopia is considered a year-round destination, many still choose to time their visit with the dry season from October to May. Many roads in places like the Omo Valley pass through river beds and streams, which can be difficult to cross during the wet season. Between December and March is the ideal time for a family safari in the Simien Mountains National Park when the vegetation is thick and green. Against this stunning backdrop, you might be fortunate enough to see the Abyssinian ibex, an endangered species of wild goat found exclusively in these mountains, as well as Ethiopian wolves.



Almost any time is right for an idyllic beach vacation in Zanzibar, especially the dry Spring months from June to October. Though in the wetter months, there are still plenty of pleasant beach days. Some visitors choose to avoid the monsoon season from March until May, but others find it worthwhile to weather the storm for low-season rates. Diving and snorkeling on the north coast is especially good from June to October, while optimal visibility on the south coast is between November and February.


Pemba Island is a wonderful year-round island getaway. Although a destination in itself, many families pair it with a Tanzanian family safari in the Serengeti or Lake Manyara for the ultimate East African bush and beach experience. The most reliable dry weather is from July to October but the sun shines often in the wet seasons (April-June, November-December) if you can handle a soak from time to time. Families come to dive at Pemba year-round, but from November to February the seas are calmest and visibility is excellent. The monsoon season is from March to May when diving isn't always the best depending on the weather conditions.


Most people planning a family trip to Mauritius want to maximise their time on the beach. Ideal sunbathing weather is from June to November when it's usually dry and not too hot. Typical of a tropical climate, the island has warm to hot weather year-round and an extremely mild winter. January and February is cyclone season, which brings less predictable weather and lower rates. Mauritius offers a wide range of water activities includes sailing, kite-surfing, kayaking and diving. For warm water and optimal visibility, popular months for diving are from October to December and between March and April, after the cyclone season. The ideal time for big game fishing is also in summer when anglers can catch marlin, wahoo and sailfish. Black River Gorges National Park is busy in the flowering season from September to January. Birds, monkeys and antelope bring life to this reserve that protects most of the island's remaining rainforest.


Warm weather year-round ensures a family vacation full of beach days whenever you are in the Seychelles, although December and January can be a little wet. With some of the world's most fabulous seaside hotels and lodges built atop 115 granite and coral islands, this is a tropical paradise like no other. Conditions for diving are usually good year-round but to explore these magnificent reefs in crystal-clear water, April and May or October and November are ideal. To time your visit with the turtle nesting season, come between September and March for Hawksbill turtles or from January to September to see Green turtles lay their eggs.